⟨ Slow Stitch ⟩

THE LUXURY OF ZERO WASTE

By Walid

Words / Toby Crispy
Photography / Courtesy of By Walid
Translation / Fanny Chan

「你看這件,這件真的非常非常破爛的19世紀維多利亞時代的拼布,幾乎是粉碎的。我們先花了好幾個小時來重新托底,然後清洗,再這樣那樣的,最後,我們拯救了他。」By Walid創辦人Walid Damirji像訴說一個拯救生命的故事。

「我不能容忍浪費,我認為即使丟棄任何一小塊布料都是很不尊重的。」

品牌By Walid創立於永續概念還未受時裝體系重視的時候,但由一開始Damirji已視用盡每一寸布料為他的使命。

 在倫敦西部一個端莊而溫柔的馬廄房子中,工作室內的寶庫藏滿了古董衣物、布料和花邊配料,正在等待被裁剪、染色和重塑;每一件服裝和設計經過重新合拼,即使是裁剩的碎布也會用來製作質感豐富的布袋,這過程會被描述為「完全零浪費的拼合」。

“Look at this – this really very, very, distressed 19th-century Victorian patchwork. It was really falling apart so we spent hours re-backing it first of all, then cleaning it, then this, then that – and I think we’ve saved it.” Founder of By Walid, Mr. Walid Damirji, said it was like telling a life-saving story.

“I didn’t tolerate waste – I thought it would be so disrespectful to waste any bit of this fabric.”  

By Walid was launched at a time when the word sustainability was hardly considered within the traditional fashion system. From day one Damirji has made it his mission to use every last scrap of material. 

Tucked away in a modest West London mews, the treasure trove of a studio is full to the brim with antique clothes, heritage fabrics and tapestries waiting to be cut, dyed and upcycled. Each garment and design is re-patched and re-used with any cut-offs developed into the most tactile of tote bags, with the process described as a complete zero waste re-patch.

T: Toby Crispy 
W: Walid Damirji

T: 腦裡充滿幻想,到底這個能把古典寶藏帶回現代的時光機是甚麼模樣的?

W: 這是一個簡單的倫敦式馬廄房子,我可以從家走到樓下 —— 團隊就在裁桌上工作,被包圍著的一邊是懸掛著的紙樣和試辦,而另一邊則是製成品。樓上是我的房間和行政部。

T: I have so many imaginations about your studio. I picture it as a time machine that brings antique treasures back here into modern time. What exactly does your studio look like? 

W: It is a simple London Mews house that I can walk to from home with the downstairs housing the team working on cutting tables and surrounded by hanging patterns and toiles on one side and completed garments on the other. Upstairs is my room with administration next door.

一切由這倫敦西部的家開始,現在By Walid每年生產6個系列,為了這60-80件製成品,我們穿梭於兩個工作室,一邊是處理布料的,另一邊就是設計的,還有一年兩度的鞋履系列,以及飾物和家品。

Originally working out of Damirji’s home in West London, By Walid now produces six collections a year with between 60-80 garments across two studios, one for treating the textiles and one for design, and we have a shoe line twice a year, accessories lines, and homeware.

T: 是什麼驅使你開展The Luxury of Zero Waste(零浪費奢侈品)的旅程?

W: 我總是喜歡舊的紡織品,隨著四處旅遊,不但放眼世界,品味也逐漸得到提升和進化,導致我擁有龐大的收藏品,亦因為品牌越做越好和越來越大,它們現在已全部消失了!

當初我只是運用收藏品改造了一件外套,被朋友帶到巴黎參展,很奇怪,當時我待在家中,沒有門牌,也沒有任何門鐘,我也不知道人們是怎樣找到二樓來。就這樣我們得到這些奇妙的訂單。我就只有這一件外套,我以為最多也不過換來10-20件的訂單,但最後是800件!就是這樣引發了之後的一切。

就是這樣,品牌2011年成立,By Walid以富現代感的線條創作可持續性的高級時裝,Walid把自己的哲學濃縮在獨一無二的「零浪費奢侈品」中。 18世紀的間棉布、刺繡咕𠱸、手造椅子和頭像雕塑,它們都再次被帶回家中。然後,這些舊布料再次準備被注入新的故事了。

T: What triggered you to embark your journey with the motto, ‘The Luxury of Zero Waste’?

W: I’d always liked old textiles and as the eye travels and grows accustomed your tastes evolve. So I had this big collection that now has completely disappeared because I’ve gone onto bigger and better and bigger and better. 

It’s just continuous. I just made this one jacket that everybody wanted, and it was sent to Paris by my friends. It was completely bizarre – because I was staying at this apartment, there was no signage, there was no buzzer, I don’t know how people made their way up to the second floor. And we got all these fantastic orders. I had one jacket with me and that was it. And I thought I was going to come back with orders for 10 – maximum 20. Eight hundred! That’s what triggered it all.

 Established in 2011, By Walid creates sustainable couture in modern silhouettes. Walid Damirji’s personal philosophy encapsulates “The Luxury of Zero Waste” with his one-of-a-kind, pieces now extending beyond fashion and into the home with covetable creations including 18th-century quilts, embroidered cushions, handmade chairs and sculptured heads. The provenance of their cloth is preparing to absorb a new story.

Damirji繼續解説:「The Luxury Of Zero Waste當中的奢華是無形的,是製作背後的無數小時,而他最有興趣的是創造一些比人一生還要長久的作品 —— 一種慢時尚的哲學。甚至乎我們在製作中裁剩的布碎,也會被放到鞋子或其他設計上。無論是從18世紀的宗教織物,還是19世紀的中國絲綢,每一件都有自己的故事要訴說,每一件成品都遠遠超越當今的即棄時裝。」

T: 聽著聽著,就像在聽說你和老朋友的相處。 

Damirji describes luxury as the unseen; the vast number of hours that go into making something. His interest lies in creating pieces that last longer than a lifetime, a philosophy of slow fashion. Even once we’ve cut it up and made something of it, those pieces are going to go into a pair of shoes or something else. Every item, whether crafted from 18th-century ecclesiastical fabric or 19th-century Chinese silk, has its own story to tell. Each ‘look’ reaches far beyond disposable ready-to-wear.

T: As I listen, it feels like they are the stories of you and your old friends.  

古董中國刺繡、法國鈎織和麻布、意大利洛可可式的奢侈品、教士的絲綢、古著工衣、西班牙的披肩⋯⋯By Walid一一重新演繹這些無名的歷史寶藏,並注入時代氣息。每當傳統、季節性的時裝界不斷地推陳出新時,Damirji則以重塑藝術的方式展示他的搖滾。

W: 基本上,我們每年會推出6個系列,是很自然而生的。布料像會説話似的,引導我們每季注入新的元素,最近我們找來了古著軍服帆布、19世紀的鋼琴披布及法國鈎織布……就是這樣,每一季都會有新的古物料來重用和把玩。

By Walid所做的就是在創造一種曾經存在的連繫 —— 那種存在於顧客、設計師和裁縫之間的連繫。

T: 在你的作品上很常見到印度的Kantha針步,這主要是為了脆弱的古董布作加固嗎?

W: 我很喜歡這些傳統的針步,以及重新演譯破損的織品。

T: 噢!恭喜你被列入2020年福布斯的「關注品牌」,你認為未來的時尚會是怎麼樣的?

W: 升級再造和重塑概念其實從來都存在,只是沒有被認真對待,我相信藉著更成熟的生產系統,以及知情辨識的顧客,事情現在已改變了。

T: 當你為這些無名的家傳之寶重塑第二生命時,你有什麼設計原則嗎?

W: 保 持 簡 單!

Antique Chinese embroidery, French crochets and linens, rococo Italian opulence, ecclesiastical silks, workwear and Spanish shawls……By Walid modernises and reinterprets historical treasures. At a time when traditional, seasonal fashion demands to be cast aside for the new, Damirji’s couture offerings actually improve with age and he affectionately dubs his ‘movers and shakers’.

W: Basically, we have six collections a year. It’s all very organic because what happens is, it’s the textile that speaks through so every season we add another new element – like recently we’ve added military canvas, so you’ve got the vintage military canvas, or 19th century piano shawls, or 19th-century French crochet. Every season there is another thing to recycle and to play with.

What By Walid has done is to create the bond that used to exist between a customer and a designer, dressmaker or tailor.

T: Kantha stitches from India are very common in your works. Is this mainly for reinforcement of the fragile antique cloth?

W: I love this traditional form of stitching and how it reinterprets distressed textiles.

T: Oh! Congratulations on being included in the Forbes Lyst 2020 among “Brands To Watch”!  What do you think about the future of fashion?

W: Upcycling and repurposing has always been around but not taken seriously.  I believe this is now changed with more sophisticated production and especially an informed and discerning customer.

T: Do you have any principles in mind when giving a second life to these antique treasures?  

W: Keep it simple!